I haven't reviewed many comics-related items in this space of late, primarily because a lot of the "big-ticket" releases of the early Fall were -- or still are -- unexpectedly delayed. Just this week, I finally got THE COMPLETE PEANUTS 1973-1974 after a weeks-long wait caused by "a lack of copies provided by the publisher." Now, I know that Fantagraphics hasn't been selling as many copies of the most recent PEANUTS collections, but then, why are they trying to yank the chains of those of us who've been riding the train from the beginning? Wouldn't you want to AVOID alienating your "base" in this manner?
TCP is not the only Fantagraphics project that's been spinning its wheels recently. E.C. SEGAR'S POPEYE VOLUME 4, featuring the marvelous "Plunder Island" continuity, is now a month overdue, and I've all but given up on HERRIMAN'S HOOMINS, which was supposed to appear at the end of May. Then, of course, there's the reigning champion of ALL Fantagraphics filibusterers...
Originally slated for release in October 2007, Volume 1 of THE COMPLETE POGO was postponed to October '08... then November '09... and now, according to Fantagraphics' Kim Thompson, it won't appear until 2010 "at the earliest." The company's apparently having more trouble than expected restoring a number of the early Sunday strips, a number of which have never previously been collected. Fanta's guesstimate is actually optimistic compared to the forbidding omens for THE ART OF WALT KELLY, a book solicited some time ago in PREVIEWS. The putative publisher, The University Press of Mississippi, shows no sign of any sort of impending release on its Web site. Are the Kelly heirs mucking up the swamp waters again? As a result of the false starts and abrupt finishes of earlier Kelly projects, Kelly is now unknown to all but a circle of serious comic-strip fans and creators, which is a crying shame, given how popular and successful POGO actually was during its heyday.
Even Boom! Studios is cutting things close in order to fulfill its earlier promise that the company's first set of "classic" Disney comics will be released by the end of September. Next week's preliminary ComicList gives no joy. Nor is there any hint of an imminent release on Boom!'s Web site. Is the studio still trying to gather up its marbles after being decked with the Disney-Marvel "sucker punch"?